Monday, June 08, 2020

Defying Conventional Wisdom, Mexico's Leftist President Rejects Bailouts and Stimulus Spending

MEXICO CITY — For the second time in a month, top business leaders sat down with Mexico’s president to implore him to do more to save the economy.

People were losing jobs by the tens of thousands, they warned. Small and medium-size companies, which employ more than 70 percent of the Mexican work force, were running out of cash. The government needed to intervene, they argued. The data was irrefutable.

“I have other data,” shrugged the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, according to two businesspeople with direct knowledge of that conversation in April. “You do whatever you think you need to do, and I’ll do what I need to do.”

Across the globe, governments have rushed to pump cash into flailing economies, hoping to stave off the pandemic’s worst financial fallout.

They have mustered trillions of dollars for stimulus measures to keep companies afloat and employees on the payroll. The logic: When the pandemic finally passes, economies will not have to start from scratch to bounce back.

In Mexico, no such rescue effort has come. The pandemic could lead to an economic reckoning worse than anything Mexico has seen in perhaps a century. More jobs were lost in April than were created in all of 2019. A recent report by a government agency said as many as 10 million people could fall into poverty this year.

Yet most economists estimate that Mexico will increase spending only slightly — by less than 1 percent of its economy — a small amount compared with many large nations.

The reason? Critics and supporters agree: Mr. López Obrador.

Hostile toward bailouts, loath to take on public debt and deeply mistrustful of most business leaders, Mexico’s president has opted largely to sit tight despite what is expected to be widespread pain up and down the economic ladder.

Read the rest here.

The Times is obviously not happy. But while Mexico may endure some serious near term pain, in the long run they may emerge in a much stronger position economically than many of their neighbors, both south and north of their border, by not saddling their people with staggering levels of debt.

1 comment:

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I think there's a lot to this. The lefty president is right: if you want "stimulus" or a "bailout," you pay for it. Don't throw the burden on the common weal or the currency.

That is my complaint about the rich: they will not bear the burden of rule. I otherwise do not begrudge them a penny of their wealth.